The Mediterranean Meanderer
13 day tour

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Curve around the Mediterranean coast on this voyage through Spain, France, and Italy.

Highlights

Wine
Roman Ruins
Art
Film Locations
Boat Cruises
UNESCO Heritage Sites
Mountains
Beaches

Places you explore


Costa Brava – ‘The Rugged Coast’ of Catalonia dotted with golden sand beaches, hidden rocky coves, and inspirational seaside towns.

Figueres -Embark on a surrealist journey through the bizarre world of Salvador Dalí in his famous theatre-museum.

Arles - Follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh and you’ll understand why he painted over 200 works around this inspiring city.

Nîmes and Pont du Gard – Explore the city nicknamed the ‘Rome of France’ and stare in awe at the extraordinary three-tiered Roman aqueduct

Cinque Terre - Imagine five pastel-hued villages perched on the rugged coast surrounded by terraced cliffs and clear deep blue water. It’s Bella Italia at its finest.

Pisa - A legendary city with the iconic architectural duo: the spectacular Romanesque Cathedral and the famous leaning tower.

Florence – Marvel at the finest collection of Italian Renaissance art and architecture in this fine city.

Val d’Orcia – Bucolic Tuscan hills dotted with cypress trees, olive groves and vineyards.


Your journey


A warm, sea-faring breeze; pastel-hued houses; and the freshest plate of food you’ve ever laid your eyes upon: There’s very little to dislike about the Mediterranean.

And on this trip, we take you on a blissful journey from Madrid to Rome via the charming towns and treasures of the coastline.

You explore the dazzling destinations that inspired artists such as van Gogh and Dalí. You experience the glitz and glamour of the French Riviera. And you venture into Florence and Cinque Terre, two masterpieces of Northern Italy.

Make the most out of your trip to Mediterranean on this journey through Spain, France, and Italy.


Tour Details

Starts
08:30 - Madrid
Finishes (approx.)
19:00
Rome
Luggage
You’re restricted to 20kg (44lbs) of luggage per person. This may consist of a small bag for onboard personal items and a larger suitcase or rucksack.
Discounts
  • Children between 5 and 15 (unfortunately, we don't carry children under 5 years old)
Important information
  • Pack comfortable shoes for walks up to beautiful views
  • Carry swimwear and a towel for wild swimming spots
  • Your holiday’s more fun when you protect yourself from the sun
  • This journey combines two of our tours and a free day in Nice. This means you swap your bus and guide during the journey.
  • Secure your tour with 10% deposit. See FAQs for more details.
Tour inclusions
  • Transport in a luxury mini-coach
  • Air conditioning as standard
  • The stories and services of an English-speaking guide and driver
  • 12 nights in a three-star hotel with continental breakfast
Tour exclusions
  • Entry fees to visitor attractions
  • A few European destinations charge tourist taxes. These funds help them keep the locations clean, safe, and beautiful. You usually pay these at the accommodation suppliers, and cost between 1€ and 5€ per night.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Marvel at the ‘hanging houses’ of Cuenca
  • Savour one of the most delicious Spanish wines on a tour of a vineyard

You leave the grand metropolis of Madrid and head east through the landscapes of Castile-La Mancha.

Your first stop of the day is Cuenca, a medieval town perched upon cliffs overlooking a river canyon. This unusually well-preserved city is famous for its ‘hanging houses’. Feeling curious? Then wander around the old town and try to spot these architectural marvels. With their balconies jutting out over the gorge, these houses appear to defy gravity.

After early lunch, you leave the Cuenca’s mind-boggling engineering behind and continue east to the Utiel-Requena region. This undulating plain surrounded by mountains is home to countless vineyards. And its wine making tradition goes back to the 7th century BC. Get your taste buds ready because you have a chance to taste wine on a tour of a local vineyard.

After savouring regional specialities and tipples; you continue the adventure towards the Mediterranean coast and travel past Sagunto Castle, a hill-top fortress that’s history spans over four civilisations.

In the evening, you arrive in Peñíscola, nicknamed the City in the Sea. Spend the evening strolling along the promenades and probing into the secrets of its old town.

Day 2

  • Step back in time and explore the Roman Amphitheatre in Tarragona
  • Experience the serenity of the mountain of Montserrat and its monastery

Today, you continue exploring the coast of Spain and head to Tarragona on the Costa Dorada.

Here, you have enough time to discover the city’s rich history and heritage. And you’re spoilt for choice. If you’re a history buff, visit some of Roman archaeological sites like the Tarragona Amphitheatre, Praetorium, and Roman Circus. Or if it’s atmospheric photos you’re after, head to the old town or the city’s golden beaches.

Now it’s time to contrast the coastline of Costa Dorada with the serrated peaks of Montserrat. This majestic mountain with strangely shaped crags is home to a Benedictine Monastery and one of Spain’s most venerated statues of the Madonna and Child. Enjoy your lunch here, contemplate the life of monks and hermits, and admire the magnificent basilica or follow the footpaths.

Full of nature and spiritual delights, you travel through the green hills and mountains and arrive in Girona in the evening. This medieval city will be your home for two nights.

Day 3

  • Soak up the beauty and history of the Cap Roig Botanical Gardens
  • Laze around Begur’s beautiful beaches or discover its medieval old town
  • Stare in wonder at the surrealist art of Salvador Dalí in Figueres

There’s more to Costa Brava than the beaches, and today is all about discovering different faces of this fascinating region.

You start off with a visit to the lush Cap Roig Botanical Gardens perched on a cliff near Palafrugell. This is a truly special place where nature, art, culture and history come together. Wander through the romantic paths, breathe in the smell of over 1,000 plant species, and admire sculptures from renowned artists.

After you’ve taken in all the beauty of Cap Roig, you head to Begur, one of the most stunning spots on the Costa Brava. You’re free to choose how you spend your time here. Roam the medieval streets, enjoy your lunch, and visit a striking 11th-century castle with panoramic views of the area. Or, head to one of the nearby dreamy little coves and spend some time on the beach.

In the afternoon, you can embark on a surreal journey as you discover Figueres, the birthplace of Salvador Dalí. Known for his eccentricity and grand visions, the surrealist genius converted an old theatre into a museum showcasing his most spectacular sculptures and painting. And he did it in a very flamboyant style. From a rooftop decorated with giant eggs to an interactive way of experiencing his work, this wonderfully bizarre place will give you an insight into the life and art of Salvador Dalí.

After a day full of artistic and nature experiences, you return to Girona in the early evening. Spend your time wandering through the beautiful walled medieval old town and the Jewish Quarter or explore the Game of Thrones s locations.

Day 4

  • Discover the seaside village of Collioure, an inspiration for some of the greatest artists
  • Travel to the traditional, remote village of Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert

Picturesque towns, colourful harbours and stunning vistas. This is the route along the Mediterranean Coast you take today as you leave Spain.

Your first stop of the day is the romantic seaside village of Collioure. This little slice of Mediterranean paradise will steal your heart with its pastel houses, bobbing boats, and beautiful beaches. And you won’t be the first to fall under its spell. Matisse, Derain and Picasso all loved this location.

Next, you travel north through the Regional Natural Park of Narbonne to Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert. Nestled in the remote area of the Séranne Mountains, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is an oasis of serenity. Enjoy a walk through the cobbled streets and visit the abbey that witnessed more than a thousand years of history.

Then, you travel through the rolling countryside and arrive in Nîmes, where you spend two nights. The evening is yours to uncover this fascinating city full of Roman remains.

Day 5

  • Follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh in Arles
  • Rub your eyes in disbelief at the perfection of Pont du Gard, the Roman aqueduct

In the morning, it’s time to explore the Regional Park of Camargue. This is where the Petit Rhône and Grand Rhône meet the Mediterranean to create an unforgettable sanctuary to flora and fauna. The vast wetland encompasses land, salty lagoons, marshland and beaches. And did we mention it’s roamed by black bulls, white horses and pink flamingos?

Then, it’s on to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, a little town almost completely surrounded by water with numerous beaches and dunes. Here, grab a coffee and explore the charming centre, or bask in the sunshine on the beach.

Next stop is Arles, the city that has it all; fascinating history, Roman treasures, shady squares, and rich art heritage. You’ll have time to discover some of the Roman remains or follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh. And remember, lunch in one of the picturesque cafes is a must while exploring this place.

Back on the road, you head to Pont du Gard to admire a masterpiece of Roman engineering, a three-tiered aqueduct built almost two thousand years ago. Ponder over the engineers’ precision and walk across the tiers of this UNESCO World Heritage Site before you head back to Nîmes in the early evening.

Day 6

  • Take an optional boat ride and marvel at the rugged landscapes of Calanques National Park
  • Succumb to the charms of the picturesque village of Cassis

Say au revoir to Nîmes and head to Cassis, a fishing village on the French Riviera. Hidden away from the glamour of the rich and famous, it is as charming as it is authentic.

You’ve got free time to explore Cassis; or if you feel more adventurous, you can go on an optional boat tour to the nearby Calanques National Park. With the fjord-like inlets, azure waters, and pine-clad gullies; this stunning coastline will steal your breath away.

Whatever you choose to do; absorb the Mediterranean vibe, enjoy your lunch, and try some local lavender ice cream.

With all this newly discovered joie de vivre, you continue your leisurely ramble along the coast towards Fréjus on the glamorous French Riviera. Feast your eyes on the stunning vistas of this town that dates to the Romans before you arrive in Nice la Belle in the evening.

Day 7

  • Stroll along Promenade des Anglais, the most famous stretch of coast in Nice
  • Pop in to the Cours Saleya market to try some delicious local specialities

Bonjour! Today is your free day to explore Nice La Belle, the capital of the French Riviera. This city is famous for its sparkling sea, 19th-century mansions, and glamorous promenades and boulevards.

Sun worshippers can familiarise themselves with the city on a quick hop on hop off bus and then spend the rest of the day on the beach.

Intrepid explorers can grab a map and delve into the Vielle Ville (the Old Town): a maze of shady alleys, colourful facades, and local shops and restaurants. While you’re in the area, make sure to stroll to Cours Saleya, the lovely market which will make you crave a few more breakfasts than you usually have.

Next, you can pop into an art museum or a gallery. Among the more prominent ones, there’s the Matisse Museum with the world’s biggest collection of the impressionist’s work and Masséna Museum inside a magnificent Belle Époque mansion.

Once you’ve had your art fix, choose a café or a restaurant and try some of the unique Provençal and Niçoise flavours of the region.

In the afternoon, you can burn some of these delicious calories off as you stroll along the famous Promenade des Anglais. This gorgeous stretch along the coast is framed by the azure water on the one side and lined up with the palm trees on the other.

In the evening, head to the Old Port to explore wine bars and pubs and absorb the city’s nightlife. But remember, don’t let your soirée become too crazy because you continue your tour tomorrow morning.

Day 8

  • Admire the spectacular views of Côte d'Azur from the medieval village of Èze
  • Savour local Italian specialities along the Ligurian Coast

The first stop is the hilltop village of Èze. Medieval and magnificent, this hamlet will dazzle you with stunning vistas, winding cobbled streets, and a ruined castle. You can also learn more about another French passion: perfumes. Just pop into the Fragonard or Galimard perfume factories and immerse yourself in the world of beautiful fragrances.

Back on the road, you cross the border and continue your journey along the Italian coast. Your next stop is the charming seaside town of Porto Maurizio where you can grab an early lunch. Take a photo of the pastel-coloured houses rising over the harbour like a pop-up book and continue south.

In the afternoon, you have the opportunity to stroll around Santa Margherita Ligure before you arrive in La Spezia, your base for the night. After checking in to your hotel, explore the town held by Napoleon for its strategic value while picking a local restaurant for dinner.

Day 9

  • Explore the stunning pastel-hued villages of Cinque Terre
  • Pose for that classic photo with the iconic Leaning Tower of Pisa
  • Be impressed with Lucca’s impeccably preserved city walls

Buongiorno! Today is all about discovering the architectural wonders of Northern Italy.

You leave La Spezia in the morning and travel to Cinque Terre. Perched to the side of the cliffs and strung like colourful beads, Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore are yours to explore. Your guide helps you navigate the train and makes sure you get the most out of your visit.

After enjoying some free time in Cinque Terre, you meet your guide for the return train journey to La Spezia where you rejoin the mini-coach and travel to Pisa.

Once a maritime power competing with Genoa and Venice, this city is now famous for an architectural project which went horribly wrong. Tilting or not, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has beautiful, elaborate Romanesque architecture and fascinating history. Grab your lunch and take in the views of other architectural highlights at Campo dei Miracoli (Field of Miracles).

Next on the list of our Italian delights is Lucca, known as the city of a hundred churches. Originally founded by the Etruscans, then a Roman colony, the city has gained its wealth through the silk trade. And you can see this prosperity in the abundance of graceful buildings and pretty piazzas. You have time to wander along the Renaissance city walls before you continue your journey further.

All these impressive architectural gems of the day were just a warm-up. Prepare yourself for a real feast for the eyes as you travel to Florence, your base for the next two nights.

Day 10

  • Marvel at Florence’s Renaissance masterpieces in the city’s grand galleries
  • Stare in awe at the ornate details of Florence Cathedral

You have a free day in the ‘Birthplace of the Renaissance’ and can decide how you want to spend it.

You can start by following the paths of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dante and Galileo - stare in awe at the Duomo, the city’s majestic Cathedral that dominates the skyline; see The Birth of Venus and some of the most celebrated treasures at the Uffizi Gallery; and visit Galleria dell’Accademia, to admire Michelangelo’s masterpiece, David.

Man does not live by art alone, so don’t forget to try some of the local specialities. The culinary delights like handmade pasta, pizza, bread, pastries, wine and gelato will help you to regain your strength.

In the afternoon, you could ponder over the Medici’s power and secrets as you explore Palazzo Pitti. The grand palace of this influential family is home to some of the greatest treasures of the Renaissance and the secret Vasari Corridor.

For a perfect end of the day, visit Boboli Gardens peppered with statues, fountains, ponds and hidden mazes. It’s your second night in Florence so spend the evening soaking up the atmosphere as you explore the bustling squares or excellent restaurants and bars.

Day 11

  • Explore San Gimignano, the city of soaring towers in Tuscany
  • Watch as the world goes by at Siena’s unique Piazza del Campo

It’s time to wave Florence goodbye and set off to discover the spectacular medieval hill-towns of Tuscany.

You journey through the famous Chianti wine region, peppered with vineyards, honey-coloured stone farmhouses, ancient olive groves, and sleepy villages.

As you travel over the green Tuscan hills, you notice the 14 towers of San Gimignano soaring like a medieval Manhattan. Listen to the story of the noble families who got caught up in a race for building the highest tower house. Then enjoy a walk around the well-preserved fortified old centre and sample some of the local delicacies for lunch.

You continue south to Siena, the highlight of the day. This gorgeous red-brick city celebrates Gothic architecture like no one else. The place’s essence centres around the unique shell-shaped Piazza del Campo. It’s here where the bi-annual horse Palio is hosted. And it’s also where James Bond chases his enemy in ‘Quantum of Solace’.

Next, you travel along the country roads, past cypress trees and olive groves to arrive in Chianciano Terme in the early evening. This spa town in rural Tuscany is your home for two nights.

Day 12

  • Stare in wonder at the revolutionary vision of urban space in Pienza
  • Savour Brunello, the famous red wine, in the place it’s bottled

Curvy backroads lined by cypress trees, vineyards, olive groves, and old romantic villages.

This is the dreamy Tuscan region of Val d’Orcia where time seems to slow down. This area boasts unspoiled beauty and is steeped in history and culture. No wonder it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Start the day with a leisurely drive through the rolling green hills to Montepulciano, home to the Nobile wine houses. Explore little squares and crumbling churches in this charming hill town, and then reward yourself with a glass or two of the local Nobile as you drink in the views of the countryside.

Next, you travel to Pienza. This city is known as the ‘Ideal City’ and is the Renaissance vision of Pope Pius II. Call it vain or forward-thinking; but in the 15th century, the Pope set about transforming his birthplace. And the results are so stunning that UNESCO designated Pienza as a World Heritage Site. Wander around the centre, marvel at the magnificent ensemble of the church, papal palace and town hall, and enjoy the local cuisine for lunch.

It’s time for you to try some of the best wines in the world in a local winery, Fattoria dei Barbi. This is home of Brunello, the famous red wine made of special grape variety with protected status.

Full of appreciation for the wine of Tuscany, you finish your day with a visit to Bagno Vignoni, a village renowned for its curative waters. The Etruscans, Romans, pilgrims of the Via Francigena, and the Medici appreciated the hot sulphurous waters here in the past. Today, you can admire this ancient spa and follow the flow of the spring waters across the archaeological park.

After experiencing and savouring the best of rural Tuscany, you arrive in Chianciano Terme in the early evening for your second night.

Day 13

  • Visit the Etruscan Necropolis of Sovana and the enigmatic Vie Cave
  • Admire the raw shapes and the dramatic location of the ancient city of Pitigliano

In the morning, you leave Chianciano Terme and travel south to the Maremma region. The adventure takes you to the area around Sorano, where you can grab an espresso and take in the dramatic views across the valley.

Next, get up close with the Etruscan civilisation, one of the most mysterious and complex ancient cultures. Stare in disbelief at the Sovana Necropolis and the Vie Cave which form an impressive road network carved out of tuff during the Bronze Age. You leave the secrets of these enigmatic people behind and explore the town of Sovana. Grab something to eat and wander the cobbled streets of this medieval beauty before you continue your journey towards Rome.

In the afternoon, you have a photo stop at another dramatic hilltop city, Pitigliano. Rising from the outcrop of the volcanic tufa rocks and surrounded by gorges on three sides, the city will make you ponder over the craftsmanship of its architects.

Next, you get off the beaten path and travel through a patchwork of green fields towards the Bolsena Lake. It’s the largest volcanic lake in Italy and its deep waters sustain a thriving fishing community in the local area. You stop to take pictures and continue along the edge of the lake to Capodimonte. Here, you have a final comfort stop and a photo opportunity of the castle on the hill.

Take in the last views of the beautiful countryside before you can say ‘Ciao Roma’, as you arrive at the gateway to Rome in the evening.

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Accommodation

Where does this tour stay overnight?

You stay one night in Peñíscola, two nights in Girona, two nights in Nîmes, two nights in Nice, one night in La Spezia, two nights in Florence, and two nights in Chianciano Terme.


To get more information about your accommodation, please contact our friendly team 3 weeks prior to departure.


How does the accommodation work?

A good night’s sleep is often needed for a good day of travel.

So, we’ve hand-picked three to four-star hotels in remote coastal villages, bustling towns, and mountain valleys.

Your accommodation is included in the tour price; and when you book your trip, you can choose whether you want double rooms, twin rooms, or single rooms.

In Paris, Nice, Madrid, Lisbon, and Rome, you stay at a hotel by the airport. These have excellent transport connections all across the city and let us avoid contributing to central traffic congestion.


Are there any extra accommodation costs?

The price you see is for all your tour's accommodation and for the tour itself. This figure is based on shared accommodation. When you're booking your tour and select a single room, an additional single room supplement will be added to the price.


FAQs

Do I need a visa to take this tour?

You may need a Schengen Visa to travel throughout Europe. Check the official tourism website of the country you’re visiting for up-to-date and reliable information. Travel between countries is easy because there are no passport checks at the borders.


Do I need to pay all at once?

Our Europe Tours have flexible payment options to help you budget for your dream holiday.

If you book more than three months before your tour departs, you can reserve your trip with a deposit of 10% or more. The full payment is required three months before your departure.

Call us on +44 (0) 131 226 3133 or email tours@rabbies.com to pay a deposit, discuss more payment options, or let us know of any changes to your travel arrangements.


Are the tours suitable for people with mobility issues?

Most people can comfortably enjoy our tours, but it's worth bearing in mind that we often include optional short walks in scenic locations. Please also be aware that many of the old European towns are built on steep hills with cobbled lanes, and you may have to carry your own luggage at times.

So that we can ensure you're comfortable travelling with us, please let us know about any special requirements or needs at the time of booking. If you have any more questions, simply email tours@rabbies.com .


Do you offer hotel pickups in the departure cities?

Europe's historic city centres are full of narrow streets and winding roads. So, to speed up your departure and avoid contributing to congestion issues, we only start our trips from the airport hotel specified in your departure information.

Our friendly team will send you more information about your departure location closer to your departure date.


When should I get to the departure point?

Arrive at the hotel lobby 15 minutes before your departure time. Unfortunately, we’re unable to wait for you if you’re late due to vehicle restrictions. But depending on your situation, we may be able to help you catch up with your tour.


What are your cancellation policies?

We have a cancellation period of 42 days for our Europe tours. If you cancel your trip before this period, we give you a full refund minus a 10% admin charge. If you cancel inside this timeframe, you’re liable for the cost of the tour package.

We understand how disappointing it is when you have to cancel a trip with us, so please contact our friendly team who will try their best to resell your ticket and refund you.

Click here to view full terms and conditions.


What is a guaranteed departure?

It's simple: you book, you go. This means we'll never cancel your tour because of a minimum numbers policy.


What can I expect?

Your friendly driver and guide are passionate about the places they visit and know all the local gossip. This means your tour itinerary can change a little due festivities, attraction opening hour changes, and spontaneous photo opportunities.


Can I pre-book a specific seat?

Due to logistical reasons, we're unable to let you pre-book a seat on the bus. But our comfortable mini-coaches have huge windows, So you always get a good view.


Are there toilets on the bus?

We like to keep our coaches small, nimble, and odour free. This means we have no on-board toilet facilities, but you frequently stop in local towns and villages for comfort breaks.



Do you take children on your tours?

Unfortunately, we’re unable to have children under the age of five on our Europe tours.

You can ask us about the tours we recommend for younger children. And if your child is less than 1.35m tall, you should let us know, so we can provide them with a suitable booster seat.


How much time do I get off the bus?

We want you to enjoy your trip to Europe. And we believe the best way to do this is to get you off the mini-coach and out exploring. So, we give you plenty of stops to take photos, go walking, and explore ancient ruins.


Why do you exclude visitor attractions?

We exclude visitor attractions in your tour price because it lets you travel your way. It means you can pamper yourself with a luxury lunch or skip an attraction whenever you feel like it.


Do we need to bring our own lunch?

You don't need to pack or bring along food on the mini-coach. We stop in small European towns, villages, and rural eateries where you can choose whatever meal pleases both your taste buds and your budget.


What should I do if I have too much luggage?

It’s more enjoyable to travel with light luggage. You can take less by cleaning clothes along the way. Most hotels provide affordable laundry service.

But if you're travelling with more than 20kg, don't worry! There are left luggage facilities close to all our departure points, and courier companies who could ship your excess luggage on to your chosen destination. Our team are happy to help if you need any suggestions or recommendations.


Should I tip the driver and the guide?

Let's be honest, our drivers and guides would never refuse a cheeky bonus. But it's up to you, and the amount is entirely at your discretion.


What about travel insurance?

We highly recommend you take out travel insurance, so you can enjoy a stress-free journey.


What is ABTOT?

You're protected by ABTOT when you choose to let us book your accommodation on a multi-day tour. This means you can claim back anything you've paid us if we run into any issues. Read our terms and conditions for more information.

Our packages are covered by the Package Travel Regulations. For full details of your key rights please click here.


I have more questions, who can help me?

If you have any more questions, call us on +44(0)131 226 3133, email tours@rabbies.com, or check out our full FAQs.

4 reasons to choose Rabbie's

Travel the local way on small group tours of 16 people or fewer

You'll have a guaranteed experience, or your money back

Guaranteed departures: you book, you go

Our eco-friendly tours support local communities

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